Responding to the Critics

Signs, Signs, Everywhere A Sign… Or Maybe Not

The signs of the end are all around is…or are they? To listen to the TV evangelists, and read the popular literature by Lindsay, LaHaye, Jeffrey, etc., you would think that there could be no doubt that we are witnessing, right before our eyes, the final signs of the end. Everything from the Indonesian tsunami, Katrina, Rita, and the Pakistani earthquake, famines, AIDS, telecommunications satellites, the BAR code, to the very existence of automobiles and computers, is identified as a sign that the Lord’s coming is right at the door. Of course, if you watch Jack Van Impe, you will notice that he is a bit like mercury. He is always changing shape and application of the same Biblical passages. One year, or on one program, an event in Africa will be the fulfillment of a certain passage, proving the end is right around the corner. The next year, or the next major world event, that same passage will be applied in a totally different way. Let’s see, the end was supposed to be in 1999, and before that it was…but wait, I digress!

This work is for the purpose of exposing some of the self contradictions in the millennial camp in regard to the signs of the end.

It must be remembered at this juncture that the millennialists do not believe that the current Christian Age is the time for the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. I know that will come as a shock to some when you read it, but, it is actually true. Well, actually, the millennial camp is very divided over this issue. In fact, millennial authors such as LaHaye and Ice cannot even agree with their own personal writings in this regard. For instance, on the one hand, Ice says that apart “from a few exceptions,” <“The present age is not a time in which Bible prophecy is being fulfilled.” 1 However, he then says, “Keep in mind, however, that there are prophecies being fulfilled during the Church Age that relate to God’s prophetic plan for Israel, and not the church.” (Charting, 48) Then, the same authors say, “Since believers today live in the Church Age, prophetic signs relating to Israel are not being fulfilled in our day. Some prophecy teachers talk about how God is fulfilling dozens of prophecies in our day. This is not the case because the prophecies they cite refer to events that will take place during the tribulation.” 2

These men are not through with their self-contradictions. Ice says that, “Because Matthew 24:4-14 cannot happen until after the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation, it is wrong to say such events are prophetically significant in our own day.”i> (End Times, 167). However, when he co-wrote Charting the End Times with LaHaye, Ice (or was it LaHaye?) wrote,

“What are the signs of the end? The first sign Jesus pointed to was war. Not just any war, of which the world has seen over 15,000 to date, but a special war started by two nations and joined by many other nations on either side until all the world is involved. It was to be the greatest war in human history. That occurred with World War I in 1914-1918, Since then there have been a parade of ‘signs’, the most significant one being the recognition of Israel as a nation in 1948. Many other signs have occurred in fulfillment of Matthew 24:8: ‘These are the beginning of sorrows.’” (p. 36)

Matthew 24:6-7 says not one thing about a single war that will be the greatest ever, it refers to “wars and rumors of wars” plural. Furthermore, Jesus emphatically said the wars in Matthew 24:6-7 were not signs of the near end, 3 (cf. Luke 21:9).

Did you catch what Ice says? He says, “It is wrong to say that the things listed in Matthew 24:4-14 are prophetically significant today!” My goodness! Jack Van Impe, John Hagee, Pat Robertson, Tim LaHaye, are you listening? Why, Mr. Van Impe could not have a television program were it not for his practice of “proving” that the famines in Ethiopia, the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Indonesian tsunami, the Pakistan earthquake, and the very existence of cars and computers, etc. are the fulfillment of prophecy! Perhaps we should set up a public debate between Ice and Van Impe, or even Tim LaHaye, and let them decide which one is right. Oh, wait, Mr. Van Impe (and Mr. LaHaye), won’t debate. Van Impe has not responded –except to send me a fund raising letter–to my four emails challenging him to a public debate on preterism.

Furthermore, one can only wonder, if Ice believes it to be such an egregious error to say that Matthew 24:4-14 has been fulfilled in “a parade of signs” since 1914-18, why did he put his name on Charting the End Times? Tim LaHaye, Ice’s co-author, certainly believes that Matthew 24 is being fulfilled in current events! Could it be that Ice is not as concerned with what a book says, as he is with having his name on it?

In one of my radio debates with Ice, 4 I quoted from Prophecy Watch, to the effect that Joel 2:28f, “was partially fulfilled at the day of Pentecost.” (P. 137) Ice vehemently objected to that quotation, insisting that I had misrepresented him. He said he had never believed that Joel was in any way fulfilled on Pentecost. I quoted the book again, and once again, Ice denied believing or saying such a thing. He strongly accused me of misrepresentation. I told him and the audience that I would never purposely misrepresent anyone, for any reason, and offered to send a photo-copy of the pages of the quote to anyone listening.

Ice was adamant however, insisting the quote was not in the book, and if it was, he did not agree with it. I asked him if he was in the practice of putting his name on books, even if he did not agree with what was in them, and he said “Yes!” 5 So, perhaps it does not bother Ice to put his name on a book, in which LaHaye says Matthew 24:4-14 is being fulfilled today, when in fact, Ice believes it is “wrong” to say this!

Consider what the millennialists say about signs of the Rapture, and signs of the end of the Christian Age. According to the millennialists the Rapture brings the Church Age to an end (Fast, 45). Ice and others insist that there are no signs of the Rapture: “The Rapture is a sign-less event; there are not and never will be signs of the time indicating that the Rapture is near.” (Watch, 11). He then adds,

“However, this does not mean that there aren’t signs of the times that relate to other aspects of God’s plan. There are many signs relating to God’s end-time program for Israel. However, we must be careful in how we see them relating to us. Since believers today live during the Church Age which will end with the Rapture of the church, prophetic signs relating to Israel are not being fulfilled in our day. Instead, what God is doing prophetically in our day is preparing the world for the time when He will begin His plan relating to Israel.” (Watch,12) Consider the disciples’ questions and Jesus’ answer in Matthew 24. The disciples asked about the end of the age (Matthew 24:3). According to Ice, Jesus’ answer deals exclusively with the end of the age of Israel
at the end of the 7 year Tribulation, following the Rapture. Of course, his writing partner, Tim LaHaye, takes a totally different approach, believing that the signs deal with the end of the Christian Age before the Rapture!

If Ice is correct, the signs of Matthew 24:4f are not signs of the end of the Christian Age. They are signs of the end of the age of Israel at the end of the Great Tribulation. However, this is troublesome. Why? Because there would be absolutely no need of signs of the end of the Age of Israel, because all that would be needed to know the day and hour of that event would be a calendar!

Concerning the Second Coming, Ice and LaHaye say: “While no one knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ Rapture of the church, we do know when the Glorious Appearing will be—‘immediately after the Tribulation’ (v. 29)” (Charting, 37). Now if, by counting down exactly 7 years from the day of the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and the man of Sin, a person could know the exact time of the Second Coming, why did the disciples need to ask for a sign of that event, and why would there need to be any signs of that event? It is patently ridiculous to suggest that signs would be needed to indicate the nearness of an event that could be calculated with Atomic Clock precision.

It is important to note again that Ice and other dispensationalists believe the Olivet Discourse deals strictly with the period after the Rapture (Controversy, 167f). Likewise, he believes that v. 29f refers exclusively to the Second Coming. Here is where we encounter another of the many contradictions in the millennial view.

Ice and LaHaye tell us: “While no one knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ Rapture of the church, we do know when the Glorious Appearing will be—‘immediately after the Tribulation’ (v. 29)” (Charting, 37). They then tell us:

“Much confusion has resulted from well-meaning people trying to identify the ‘generation [that] will not pass away until all these take place’ (Matthew 24). Some start this generation at v. 31 and believe it is talking about the generation beginning at the time Israel became a nation in 1948. (Be sure to read just below on this issue. It is very important, DKP). The passage of time, of course, has disproved that idea. It’s better to interpret this verse in its context; that is, the generation that sees the events of the Tribulation will also see the coming of Christ and the other events leading to the end of the age. This avoids harmful speculation about the future, for no man knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36). As soon as Anti-Christ and Israel sign a peace treaty, which he breaks in the middle of the Tribulation, there will be seven years until the coming of Christ.” (Charting, 37)

Notice what these men have done. They have taken what Jesus said about the Second Coming, “no man knows the day or the hour,” and applied it to the Rapture. Yet, according to Ice and LaHaye, in Matthew 24 Jesus never even mentions the Rapture! Thus, it is wrong for them to apply Matthew 24:36 to the Rapture. (Of course there is no such thing as a Rapture, 6 and then the Second Coming in scripture. This is a theological fabrication without any scriptural merit, but that is a separate study).

Not only do they apply Matthew 24:36 to an event that they do not believe Jesus was discussing, they then take what Jesus said about the Second Coming, and turn it on its head! Jesus said no one knew, but the millennialists say everyone can know! Just start the clock from the moment the anti-Christ and Israel sign the treaty, count seven years, and you have the day and hour of the Second Coming. Yet, Jesus said no one knew that day and hour! 7

Why would there be any need for the signs of “wars and rumors of wars,” if a person could know that precisely 7 years from a given time the parousia would occur? And why would one need to view the completion of the world mission as a sign that the end was near, if in fact you already knew that the peace treaty had been signed, and you had the Day of the Lord marked on your calendar? Likewise, the appearance of the Abomination of Desolation would not make the date of the parousia any more “known” since that Day had already been precisely determined.

The fact that the rapture would, ostensibly at least, indicate that the parousia was now only 7 years away, negates the need for any signs indicating its nearness. I mean after all, if you knew that yesterday, millions upon millions of Christians had disappeared, ala the Left Behind scenario, wouldn’t you have a pretty good idea to set your clock for 7 years down the road?

And if the rapture was not enough of a sign of the nearness of the parousia, then if in fact, “we do know when the Glorious Appearing will be,” i.e. precisely 7 years after the signing of the peace treaty between the man of sin and Israel, there would be absolutely no need for any other signs of the approaching parousia. Think about it! Do we need signs to know that Christmas is coming? We know December 25 is on the calendar! We know the day and the hour! The dispensational suggestion about all the signs in Matthew 24 applying to that very short 7 year period of time become chronologically dissonant. When you have a precise starting point, and a precise ending point, you do not need signs to indicate the nearness of the ending point.

Remember that the millennialists insist that there are no signs of the Rapture. However, as we have already seen, the Rapture is the signal end of the Church Age. Therefore, it is prima facia evident that signs of the end of the Church Age are de facto signs of the Rapture!

So, here is what we have:

There are (supposedly) more signs of the nearness of Christ’s coming today, than in any previous generation. In fact, our generation has seen the “super sign of the end.”As we will see, this demands, it does not merely suggest, but it demands that our generation must be the generation of Christ’s second coming.

i>However, the signs of Christ’s second coming, the signs of Matthew 24, are not supposed to appear until after the rapture. Yet, most dispensationalists believe the signs of Matthew 24 are being fulfilled today. Matthew 24 is the most oft quoted passage in the Bible in regard to signs and their current fulfillment! So, either modern events are not signs of the nearness of the end, or, if they are truly signs of the nearness of Christ’s parousia, then we must be in the post rapture period, and have been since 1948! What happens to the concept of the 7 year tribulation in that scenario??

If the events of our current generation are not in fact signs in fulfillment of Matthew 24, then virtually all dispensational teaching of this and the previous generation is falsified! This is no small matter!

If the events of our generation are in fact signs of the nearness of the second coming, then, it is inescapably true that those same events are signs of the rapture. Yet, we are told that there are no signs of the rapture. Well, how can there be signs of the nearness of the second coming, which is a post rapture event, and yet those signs are not signs of the even closer rapture?

Here is the dilemma: Current events cannot be signs of the rapture, because there are no signs of the rapture. But, current events cannot be signs of the nearness of Christ’s second coming, because the signs of the second coming d
o not appear until after the rapture. If current events are signs of the nearness of Christ’s second coming, then those events are irrefutably, signs of the even closer nearness of the rapture, for which there are supposed to be no signs. But, if current events are signs of the nearness of the second coming, then the claim that the events of Matthew 24 belong exclusively to the post rapture world is falsified. So, all the while the dispensational pundits shrilly proclaim that our generation has seen the “super sign of the end,” and a veritable “parade of signs,” they are contradicting themselves in a manner that is fatal to their own doctrine. There is no position on signs that modern dispensationalists can take that is not self contradictory, and more importantly, that does not violate the Bible! Let’s continue our study to demonstrate this.

Remember that Ice, and of course others, claim that Matthew 24 has nothing to do with the current age. Matthew 24 is concerned with the post rapture world, and the signs of the second coming. However, there is a huge problem here! Note that in Matthew 24:43f Jesus likens his coming to the coming as a thief. Here is where it gets interesting.

i>The thief coming is supposed to be the rapture, 8 because there are not supposed to be any signs of that coming. But this will not work, because, remember, Matthew 24 is not about the rapture, it is about the second coming, and all of the signs listed in Matthew 24:4f are supposed to be signs of the second coming! So, in other words, the signs in Matthew 24 were to be signs of the thief coming of Matthew 24:43f! But this cannot be, per the millennial view, because there aren’t supposed to be any signs of the thief coming! Well, if the signs of Matthew 24:4f are for the Lord’s coming of Matthew 24:43f, then there are signs of the thief coming!

But again, this will not work, because according to the millennial view, the thief coming is the rapture, not the second coming! Yet, Matthew 24:43 is supposed to be talking about the second coming, not the rapture/thief coming! Is your head spinning yet? Well, there is more.

In Revelation 16:15 we have the description of Armageddon. Ice, LaHaye, Jeffrey, Van Impe, et. al. contend that the battle of Armageddon is climaxed by the second coming. Let me reiterate that, the second coming. But, how does Jesus describe that coming? Read his words: “Behold, I am coming as a thief!”

Do you see the problem? The thief coming is the rapture, or so we are told by the millennialists. And the rapture is “a sign-less event.” But, this will not work in Revelation 16! The coming of Revelation 16:15, at the climax of Armageddon, is Christ’s thief coming. But, the coming as a thief is supposed to be the rapture, and is supposed to be a “sign-less event.” However, the coming of Revelation, at the climax of Armageddon, is preceded, per the millennial view, by:

1.) The signing of the peace treaty between Israel and anti-Christ.

2.) The rebuilding of the Tribulation temple.

3.) The breaking of the peace treaty.

4.) The imposition of the mark of the beast.

5.) The ensuing Great Tribulation in which 2/3rds of all Jews and 3/5ths of all the earth’s population is destroyed.

6.) The appearance of the Two Witnesses.

7.) The appearance of 144,000 Super Evangelist Jews.

8.) And all the other events that the millennialists posit for the seven year tribulation period.

So, in other words, the thief coming of Revelation 16:15 is preceded by a plethora of signs. In fact, it is preceded by the very sign that Ice/LaHaye insist allows one to know the very day and hour of its coming, the signing of the peace treaty! After all, they tell us that, “As soon as anti-Christ and Israel sign a peace treaty, which he breaks in the middle of the tribulation, there will be seven years until the coming of Christ.” (Charting, 37). So, according to their own interpretation of Revelation, the thief coming of Revelation 16 can be calculated to the very day and hour! 9

The dilemma here is acute, yet virtually no one is addressing it. This matter of signs is a major Achilles’ heel of millennialism. All they talk about is “signs, signs, everywhere a sign,” and yet, they can’t have signs of the end of the Church Age, because that negates their argument about no signs of the Rapture, and they don’t need signs of the Second Coming if the day and hour of that event can be calculated with precision!

Let’s summarize what we have seen thus far:

There are no signs of the Rapture (Ice/LaHaye).

There are signs of the end of the Christian age (Ice/LaHaye). After all, 1948 is the “Super Sign of the end of the age”…however, here is an argument to consider:

Major Premise: The Rapture brings the Church Age to an end (Ice, LaHaye, et. al).

Minor Premise: There are signs of the end of the Church Age (Ice, LaHaye, et. al.)

Conclusion: Therefore, there are signs of the Rapture, that terminates the Church Age.

If the Rapture brings the Church Age to a close, and if there are signs of the end of the Church Age, then logically, there are indeed signs of the Rapture. It is illogical to deny this.

span style="font-weight: bold">Ice and LaHaye claim, that it is, “Too strong to say that there are signs of the end of the Church Age.”

Of course, on page 119 of Charting, they list 11 signs of the end of the Christian Age, and say, “some prophecy teachers suggest there are 20 signs today, and one of our friends has a list of 36.” Now, if it is too strong to say that there are signs of the end of the Church Age, how can they justify saying: “The rise of Russia to become a world superpower militarily, is a fulfillment of prophecy.” (Charting 119)? If there are no signs of the end of the Church Age, how can they say, “All the various strikes and unrest we see in various parts of the work world are not just a disruption to society, they are a fulfillment of prophecy for the last days.” (Charting, 120)?

Ice says that it is wrong to say that any of the signs of Matthew 24:4-14 are being fulfilled today…(Ice), yet,

LaHaye says that there has been a parade of signs fulfilled in fulfillment of Matthew 24:8f, since WWI. (LaHaye)

Ice says: “Prophetic signs relating to Israel are not being fulfilled in our day.” However…

 (Ice and LaHaye say that the restoration of Israel in 1948 is the Super Sign of the end of the age (Charting, 119)..

Ice says: It is, “Too strong to say that there are signs of the end of the Christian Age, and, “prophetic signs relating to Israel are not being fulfilled in our day”, but, then says, “this does not mean that there aren’t signs of the times that relate to other aspects of God’s plan.”

Don’t we have the right to ask: if there are no signs of the Rapture, no signs of the end of the Church Age, and no signs relating to Israel being fulfilled today, just exactly what other “aspect of God’s plan” is there for which there are signs?

The contradiction between LaHaye and Ice on Matthew 24 is very significant.
10 Ice sees Matthew 24:4f as applicable strictly to the Tribulation period, after the Rapture, having nothing to do with the current Christian Age. LaHaye believes just the opposite, since he believes that those signs are signs of the end of the Christian Age. The difference between the two positions is a “great gulf,” and cannot be bridged by waving a hand at it and saying it is not important.

Consider the following:

“Through the ages, ‘date-setters,’ ‘sign spotters,’ and false prophets have brought disrepute on the study of prophecy by speculating on the timing of Christ’s return. Their wrong guesses have deceived and disillusioned many. But this is no reason to avoid the legitimate study of prophetic signs that show the approximate time of the Lord’s return….While it is true that no man knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return, Jesus himself took the time to explain the signs that would indicate His return was near. What’s more, as we examine each of the signs, we can say we believe that our generation has more signs to indicate that Christ could come in our lifetime than any generation before us.” (Charting, 119)

There are so many problems with this statement it would take an entire article just to enumerate them! We will only note a few major issues.

1.) Remember, Ice and LaHaye do not believe that there are any signs of the Rapture. There are only signs of the Second Coming that occurs 7 years after the Rapture.

2.) If the coming, for which there are signs, is near, then surely we must be in the Tribulation! There are no signs of the Rapture, but there are signs of the Second Coming. Thus, if, “our generation has more signs to indicate Christ could come in our lifetime than any generation before us,” we absolutely must be in the Tribulation!

3.) If the signs of the Second Coming are truly present, then a person should be able to set the day and the hour because according to Ice and LaHaye: “While no one knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ Rapture of the church, we do know when the glorious appearing will occur–immediately after the tribulation.” ( Charting, p. 37) They continue: “As soon as anti-Christ and Israel sign a peace treaty, which he breaks in the middle of the tribulation, there will be seven years until the coming of Christ.” (Charting, 37)

4.) If the signs present today are not in fact for the Second Coming, due to the fact that we are not in the Tribulation, then they must be signs of the Rapture! But, remember, Ice and LaHaye are adamant that there are no signs of the Rapture. Thus, there cannot be signs of the Second Coming, because the Rapture and Tribulation has not occurred, and there cannot be signs of the Rapture, because it is a sign-less event. So, just what coming of the Lord is indicated by all these signs…that are not signs?

5.) Ask yourself this question: If it is, “too strong to say that there are signs of the end of the Church Age being fulfilled today,” and, “There are no signs of the Rapture,” and, “Prophetic signs concerning Israel are not being fulfilled today,” etc., then just exactly how is it possible to claim, “our generation has more signs to indicate that Christ could come in our lifetime than any generation before us.” This is a huge contradiction.

6.) Notice that Ice and LaHaye say that, “our generation has more signs to indicate that Christ could come than any other generation.” This statement contains two contradictions!

span style="font-weight: bold">First, as we show below, Ice quotes Bock, approvingly, to the effect that the generation to see the signs of the Lord’s coming has to be the generation to see the end. The signs are not “the unending story” repeated every generation. Well, if our generation has seen the “Super Sign,” and more signs than any other generation, that means this has to be the generation! No, “ifs,” “ands,” or, “buts” about it!

as we show below, Ice quotes Bock, approvingly, to the effect that the generation to see the signs of the Lord’s coming the generation to see the end. The signs are not “the unending story” repeated every generation. Well, if our generation has seen the “Super Sign,” and more signs than any other generation, that means this has to be the generation! No, “ifs,” “ands,” or, “buts” about it!

span style="font-weight: bold">Second, as a corollary argument, note the subtle shift in what Ice and LaHaye have to say about the signs, and compare with what Jesus said. Jesus said, “when you see all these things come to pass (the signs, DKP), then know that it is nigh, even at the door” (Matthew 24:32). The signs were not indicators that Christ’s coming might or could happen soon. The signs were to prove that the parousia was definitely going to happen in that generation.

as a corollary argument, note the subtle shift in what Ice and LaHaye have to say about the signs, and compare with what Jesus said. Jesus said, “when you see all these things come to pass (the signs, DKP), then know that it is nigh, even at the door” (Matthew 24:32). The signs were not indicators that Christ’s coming or happen soon. The signs were to prove that the parousia was going to happen in that generation.

Ice even agrees that the generation to see the signs is the one that sees the Lord’s coming. If the generation that sees the signs is the one to see the parousia, and if our generation has seen more signs than any other generation, then our generation must be the generation of his coming. Of course, Ice refuses to be consistent with what he has written maintaining that it is not possible to know for sure when the parousia is to be. This is nothing but obfuscation, however. You cannot, logically, argue that the generation to see the signs must be the terminal generation, argue that ours is the generation that is seeing the signs, in fact the Super Sign, and then turn around and mitigate the significance of the signs by saying that we can’t know when the parousia is to be! If the signs are present in this generation, then this must be the generation of the end. Jesus said “Verily I say unto 11 you this generation shall not pass until all these things shall be fulfilled.” He did not say, the generation that will see the signs might be the generation when all these things could be fulfilled. Jesus was not ambiguous, vague, or evasive.

Do you catch the power of these contradictions in the dispensational camp? On the one hand, there cannot be any signs before the Rapture, because the Rapture is sign-less. Yet, Ice and LaHaye say there are now more signs of the nearness of the Lord’s coming than in any other generation. 12 That is a contradiction, because any sign of the Second Coming, is defacto, a sign of the Rapture! 13

Further, there cann
ot be any signs of the Second Coming, because the signs of the Second Coming are not supposed to appear until after the Tribulation, and of course, that has not happened, they tell us. However, Ice and LaHaye tell us that there are more signs of the Second Coming now than in any previous generation. That is a contradiction.

If there are, today, signs of the coming of the Lord, then the signs have to be signs of the Rapture. But this cannot be true we are told, since the only coming for which there are signs is the Second Coming, after the Rapture. But, if there are signs of the Lord’s coming present today, then this demands that either the Rapture has occurred, or there are in fact signs of the rapture. Yet, this is false, we are told. The point is, that whatever position in regard to signs that the millennialists take, they contradict their own system!

Consider this: in Controversy (p. 93), Ice cites, with approval, Daryl Bock, who says:

“What Jesus is saying is that the generation that sees the beginning of the end, also sees the end. When the signs come, they will proceed quickly; they will not drag on for many generations. It will happen within a generation.”

Notice also what Grant Jeffrey has stated about the importance of 1948.

“Without a doubt the rebirth of the nation of Israel on May 15, 1948, is one of the most extraordinary of all the prophecies in the ancient scriptures. It is not only historically unprecedented but the prophecy of the rebirth of Israel is also unique in that it cannot easily be fulfilled again in any generation. If the restoration of Israel in 1948 is not the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37 and Matthew 24, then the Jews must be exiled from Israel for centuries and return once more to become a nation. This is so unlikely that we can eliminate it as a possibility.” 14

Do you catch the power of what Bock and Jeffrey are saying about the distinctive nature of 1948 and the signs? They are saying that 1948 cannot be duplicated as a sign,15 and that the generation to see the signs must be the generation of the parousia! This is why they call 1948 the Super Sign of the end! But again, if that is true, then this must be the generation to see the Lord’s return! Ice agrees with Bock that the generation that sees the signs is the final generation. Well, the “Super Dooperest Sign” of all (to be a bit facetious), has been witnessed, we are told. There is no greater or more important sign than 1948 and it is unrepeatable. Thus, if the generation to see the sign, the greatest sign of all, must be the generation of the end, we say again, Ice has become a date setter every bit as much as those whom he castigates.

Here is our argument for simplification:

Major Premise: The generation to see the signs of the end will be the generation to see the Second Coming of the Lord (Ice, LaHaye, Bock)

Minor Premise: But our generation has seen more signs of the end, including the Super Sign of the end, the restoration of Israel in 1948, than any other generation that has ever lived. (Ice, LaHaye, Bock)

Conclusion: Therefore, our generation must be the generation that witnesses the end, i.e. the coming of the Second Coming of the Lord.

What does this mean? Well, as we have seen, in Charting (p. 119+), they list 11 signs and tell us that these are the “fulfillment of prophecy.” Ice and LaHaye tell us, “Our generation has more signs to indicate that Christ could come in our lifetime than any generation before us.” Ice is on record as saying that Israel’s presence in the land since 1948 is, “the beginning of the fulfillment of Ezekiel 37.”16 (We cannot develop this here, but this is a devastating admission! Ezekiel 37 speaks of Israel’s “restoration” with a new heart (37:10f)–not a heart of atheism and unbelief! However, according to Ice, 1948 was the restoration of Israel when the majority of them were “atheists or agnostics” Charting, 86. Just exactly how does Ezekiel 37 fit into that? See my book Israel: 1948, Countdown to No Where for a fuller discussion of this vital topic.)

In Charting (p.84) the restoration of Israel in 1948 is called “God’s Super Sign of the End Times,” and they say, “Israel’s re-gathering and the turmoil are specific signs that God’s end-time program is on the verge of springing into full gear. In addition, the fact that all three streams of prophecy (the nations, Israel, and the church) are all converging for the first time in history constitutes a sign in itself.”

So here is what we have. Ice and LaHaye tell us that prophecy pundits who have set the date for the Lords’ return have brought dishonor to the study of Bible prophecy. However, they then tell us that the generation to see the signs of the end will definitely be the generation to see the coming of the Lord, because, “When the signs come, they will proceed quickly; they will not drag on for many generations.” Then they tell us that no other generation has ever seen the signs our generation is seeing. In fact, 1948 is the “Super Sign,” the greatest sign of all, ever. So, from their own keyboards comes the inescapable conclusion that Ice and LaHaye have set the date for the Lord’s coming as this generation!

Can someone please explain the difference between Hal Lindsay’s false prediction of the Lord’s coming in 1988, and the logically inescapable fact that Ice and LaHaye’s position demands that Christ must come in this generation? While Ice chides those who tried to calculate the time of the Lord’s coming based on 1948, he has, in effect, made the identical prediction! If, as Bock says, and Ice cites him approvingly, the generation to see the signs is the generation of the end, and if 1948 is the Super Sign of the end, then there can be no other conclusion: ours is the generation to see the coming of the Lord. That cannot be a matter of mere hope, desire, or even belief. If the end would come in the generation of the signs, and if 1948 is the Super Sign, then this generation (and it is just about gone!) has to be the generation of the end! You cannot, logically at least, say that 1948 is the Super Sign of the end, and say that the generation to see the signs has to be the terminal generation, and then claim that the generation that has seen the most important sign of all does not have to be the generation of the end. So, while Ice condemns Lindsay for his predictions, Ice has done the same!

Now, if you got confused reading the millennial comments about signs, that is understandable. Just exactly what is a person to believe? Ice and LaHaye disagree with other leading millennialists. They disagree with each other. They even disagree with themselves, and with their own books, and they disagree with each other in the same books! The inherent contradictions in their statements are many. The fact is that the millennial doctrine concerning the Rapture, signs, and their entire schema concerning the end of the age is a house of cards built on quicksand.

Ice and LaHaye correctly note that the date setters and false prognosticators have brought–and we might add, do
bring, disrepute on the study of prophecy. Further, they bring shame on the very name of Christ. But those false predictions and prophets are not all in the misty past! Hal Lindsey predicted 1988–he failed. Jack Van Impe predicted 1999–he failed. John Hagee, speaking on Trinity Broadcasting, March 2003, said the Rapture would occur within six months. (You failed, Mr. Hagee!) Ice’s partner, Tim LaHaye, although he said he did not want to be “dogmatic,” said that the generation that saw WWI would be the generation to see the Lord’s return. 17 (Time is almost up, Mr. LaHaye). It is time for the modern church to hold these men accountable. They need to be recognized and labeled for what they are, and that is false teachers that are bringing shame on the name of Christ.

End Notes

[1] Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, Prophecy Watch, (Eugene, Ore, Harvest House, 1998) 10 [2] Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy, Fast Facts on Bible Prophecy, (Eugene, Ore., Harvest House, 1997) 197[3] It cannot be argued that Matthew 24:6-7 refers to the Great Tribulation period, because Jesus specifically says that the “wars and rumors of wars” of v. 6-7 were not signs that the end was near. However, in regard to the Great Tribulation, the parousia was to follow it “immediately.” In other words, the Great Tribulation was to be a sign of the immediate end, whereas the wars of v. 6-7 were not. [4] Tapes of that debate are available from me.[5] After the debate, Ice contacted me asking for the reference, and I supplied it. He admitted in the email correspondence that I had in fact quoted the book correctly, but that he did not believe or agree with what it said, and that it had simply slipped through the editing process. He said he would never have allowed the book to go to press with that quote in it. [6] See my book, Leaving the Rapture Behind. It is available on my website: www.eschatology.org. In that book, I demonstrate that every tenet of the rapture doctrine is false.[7] Ice and LaHaye make another shift in the text of Matthew 24. The claim that while unbelievers will not know the day and the hour, the believers will, citing the example of Noah and his day. The problem is that while Noah and his family knew the generation, they did not know the day and hour. Further, Jesus did not say, “Unbelievers do not know the day and the hour, but believers will.” He said “No one knows.” NO ONE includes believers and non-believers alike. This does not mean that Christians would not have more insight than unbelievers, but it does mean that all men were ignorant of the exact day and hour, just as Jesus said.

[8] This view is very problematic when one considers 2 Peter 3. The dispensationalists by and large apply 2 Peter 3 to the end of the millennium. Yet, 2 Peter 3 is Christ’s coming as a thief (v. 10). So, the thief coming is supposed to be a sign-less, event, i.e. the rapture, before the millennial reign of Christ. Yet, the coming of 2 Peter 3 is Christ’s coming as a thief, and according to the millennialists, comes at the end of the millennial reign of Christ, and after a thousand years of “signs!” Does the rapture come at the end of the millennium after all? If the thief coming is the rapture, then since 2 Peter 3 is the thief coming at the end of the millennium, this conclusion is inescapable![9] See my book, Blast From the Past: The Truth About Armageddon, for an extensive discussion of the thief coming, and the problems it presents for the millennial view, as well as the amillennial and postmillennial views. The book is available from my website: www.eschatology.org. [10] We do not mean to suggest that there is perfect harmony among all believers in any paradigm. As a former amillennialist I can testify that there are differing schools of thought on Matthew 24 and other issues. The same is true in the postmillennial and preterist camps as well. However, some differences are so fundamental, so serious that they cannot be lightly dismissed. Some differences make a difference, and so it is with the differences between whether Matthew 24 refers to the time before the rapture or after. This is a serious difference.[11] The little Greek phrase, “Verily I say unto you” is one of the strongest forms of expression to affirm the validity of what is being said. Jesus was saying in no uncertain terms, that without fail, that the parousia would be in the generation to see the signs, and of course, he was unequivocally saying that was his “this generation.” Ice’s attempt to distort Matthew 24:36 into saying “The generation that will see all of these things will not pass until all is fulfilled” is a shameful bit of distortion. Jesus said, “This generation shall not pass until all is fulfilled.” This means that his “this generation” would be the one to see the signs and the parousia. It did not mean that some future generation, whenever it might be, would see the signs and then know that they were the terminal generation. [12] Of course, every other would be prophet who has ever lived has made the identical claim! William Miller said it. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have said it. Even Martin Luther said all the signs were fulfilled! See the books, End Times Visions: The Doomsday Obsession, by Richard Abanes (Nashville, Broadman, 1998), and, The Day and the Hour, by Gummerlock, (Atlanta, American Vision, 2000) for a history of failed prophets.[13] By this we mean that any sign of the second coming t
hat appears prior to the rapture, is a defacto sign of the nearness of the rapture. If one can say that there are signs of the second coming appearing now, indicating its nearness, then it is logically necessary that the rapture is therefore nearer than the second coming!
[14] Grant Jeffrey, The Triumphant Return, (Toronto, Frontier Research Publications, 2001) 221[15] Ice takes note of three differing views in pre-tribulational millennialism. He says of the “strict viewpoint,” “Israel could be kicked out of the land and it would not impact prophecy, since we cannot really confirm whether contemporary events are leading up to biblical fulfillment.” Ice does not list himself in this classification, but places himself in the “moderate” viewpoint. However, to even suggest that Israel could be kicked out of the land, again, and that would not have a prophetic impact, on the world of dispensationalism, is patently absurd! Dispensationalism, as it now exists, is all but totally dependent on the current possession of the land.

[16] In an internet article at: http://www.according2prophecy.org/signs.html Link valid as of 10-17-05

[17] Tim LaHaye, The Beginning of the End, (Wheaton, Tyndale, 1973). Conveniently, in the later editions of this work, LaHaye has changed this prediction and omitted several significant statements, without informing his readers of the changes!

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